LEARNING SOCIETY : ISSUES AND CHALLENGES TO LEARNERS, EDUCATORS AND PLANNERS-AN
paper- God willing- will argue for the successful implementation of a knowledge
and learning society and also life of quality in the holistic sense and not only
in certain aspects of both, because Islam as a tauhidic
‘weltanschauung’ stands for the realization of total human needs,
seeing man in terms of , firstly his theomorphism, and then secondly
his social , collective and civilizational needs.
we should be clear about our
understanding of the notion of knowledge society as it is understood in current
cultural discourse. What is “knowledge society”?
an example concerning one part of the Muslim World, in a recent report about
developing ‘a knowledge society’ in
the Arab world, it is stated in the Arab Human development report 2003: building
knowledge society 2003
that] the Arab states should also encourage greater interaction with other
nations, cultures and regions of the world, [urging] "[o]penness,
interaction, assimilation, absorption, revision, criticism and examination
cannot but prompt creative knowledge production
in Arab societies.[this report done ] by a group of distinguished Arab scholars
and opinion leaders, is at once descriptive and perspective, with bold
recommendations for change and analysis of the current state of education,
scientific research, the media, the publishing industry, culture encompassing
religion, intellectual heritage and the Arabic language, and other building
blocks of a "knowledge society" in the Arab states.
is observed that The Arab Human Development report 2003 (AHDR2003 ) which is the
second of a planned four-part series which will also cover the issues of
freedoms and political institutions, and gender imbalance and the empowerment of
women in the 22
states. The first Report (AHDR 2002 ), issued a year ago, outlined the most
important development challenges facing the Arab states at the beginning of the
third Millennium. The Egyptian renowned journalist Muhammad Hassanain Haikal
said AHDR 2002 signaled the region's "last chance to join the trip to the
are a number of important points in the report touching upon “information
report is observed as:”Written into every line is the unwavering conviction
that reform efforts, which genuinely serve the region's interests must be
initiated and launched from within." Yet the construction of a viable
"knowledge society" requires effective economic,
and political institutions, Khalaf emphasizing "The missing links are..
smothered by ideologies, societal structures and values that inhabit critical
thinking, cut Arabs off from
goes on to describe it :” The report proposes a strategic vision that could
support a creative renaissance buttressed by the "five pillars" of an
Arab Knowledge society guaranteeing the key freedoms of opinion, and assembly
through good governance bounded by the law." A climate of freedom is an
essential prerequisite of the knowledge society," affirms the report and
argues that "It is also imperative to end an era of administrative control
and the grip of security agencies over the production and dissemination of
knowledge and the various forms of creative activity that are the foundations
for the knowledge society in Arab states."(3)
one international; conference last year (2003) dealing with the topic of
engineering ‘knowledge society’ the organizers noted that:
the Knowledge Society» (EKS)[involve] «Information technology supporting human
development» Information Technology (or
Information and Communication Technology) cannot be seen as a separate entity.
Its application should support human development and this application has to be
has to be taken into account when engineering the Knowledge Society? The
Learning and education, e-inclusion, ethics and social impact, engineering
What actions have to be undertaken to realize a human centered Knowledge
Society? The presentations in this World Summit parallel event will reflect the
active stance towards human development supported by ICT expressed in its title.
A Round Table session will provide concrete proposals for action.(4)
the Forum on «Engineering the Knowledge Society»
the topics covered are:
Learning in the Knowledge Society
intelligence and Capacity building in the Information Society -
Social Engineering of the Knowledge Society
The e-Society Repository: An Open Tool to Build a Human Information Society
Preserving Information – Orality, Writing and Memory in a Human Society
Towards an indigenous Vision for the Information Society
Vulnerabilities of Information Technologies and their impact on the Information
Professional Deontology [i.e.theory on duties], self regulation and Ethics in
the Information Society
Development in the Field Software Engineering Professionalism, standards and
The Role of Professional Society in the Information Age
Managing ICT Skills Profiles
Enabling ICT Adoption in Developing e-Societies
Sustainable Development and Information Society (From Rio to Geneva
Impact of Future Technology on Society
Telemedicine for medical Capacity Building in Developing Countries:Experiences
and Lessons Learned in Mali
Understanding and interpreting the Drivers of the Knowledge Economy •
Economy – Effects on organizational Development and the Role of Education
Beyond Information Society: the Revolution of non-tangible Assets Social
Engineering of the Internet in Developing Areas
it is observed, in relation to the term: “knowledge society” or
“information society” or whatever; it is stated that:
in Western Europe can probably agree that we have left the industrial society.
What, then, have we entered instead? Information society, service society or
knowledge society are, I guess, the most commonly used designations for the
stage we currently are in. What designation we think is right very likely
depends on where we are.”(5)
further, it is observed :
would say information society; McDonald's would say service society. "Where
you stand depends on where you sit," as the British are fond of saying. It
is a question of what you value the most, for none of them - information,
service or knowledge - are anything new. They have always existed and will
probably always exist; but other phenomena - agriculture, industry - have tended
to dominate the interpretation of reality.”
it is not so much a matter of objective truth as of what interpretation is the
most fulfilling when we have to choose the designation for the current
conditions. Knowledge society can be a very suitable designation for most
societies in Western Europe. It is naturally a matter of definition when a
society has become a knowledge society. The easiest criterion is perhaps the
price per pound of a nation's export. The higher it is, the more knowledge there
is in the product.”
is also stated : “Calling Western Europe a knowledge society the fact that we
don't want to compete with the 3rd world - at least not on the 3rd world's
premises - and it assumes an increasing amount of knowledge in the products. We
don't even have to go very far. If there are to be room for the new EU members,
we must necessarily 'escape' into a higher knowledge content in our products”.
we come to the question of what is "a learning society"?
It is seen in a number of perspectives. Among others it is seen as:
Notions of the learning society gained considerable currency in policy debates
in a number of countries since the appearance of Learning to Be:
learning involves all of one's life, in the sense of both time-span and
diversity, and all of society, including its social and economic as well as its
educational resources, then we must go even further than the necessary overhaul
of 'educational systems' until we reach the stage of a learning society. (Faure
et al 1972: xxxiii)
notion has subsequently been wrapped up with the emergence of so called
'post-industrial' or 'post-Fordist' societies and linked to other notions such
as lifelong learning and 'the learning organization' (see, in particular, the
seminal work or Argyris and Schon 1978). It is an extra-ordinarily elastic term
that provides politicians and policymakers with something that can seem
profound, but on close inspection is largely vacuous. All societies need to be
charactized by learning or else they will die!( in " the theory and
rhetoric of the learning society" in http://www.infed.org/lifelonglearning/b-lrnsoc.htm
writer Donald Schon concerning what is called the loss of the stable state stated his views in his work providing
an early view on the matter, defining it, giving his contribution
(1963, 1967, 1973). He provided a theoretical framework linking the
experience of living in a situation of an increasing change with the need for
loss of the stable state means that our society and all of its institutions are
in continuous processes of transformation. We cannot expect new stable states
that will endure for our own lifetimes.
must learn to understand, guide, influence and manage these transformations. We
must make the capacity for undertaking them integral to ourselves and to our
must, in other words, become adept at learning. We must become able not only to
transform our institutions, in response to changing situations and requirements;
we must invent and develop institutions which are ‘learning systems’, that
is to say, systems capable of bringing about their own continuing
transformation. (Schon 1973: 28)
of his innovations was to explore the extent to which companies,
social movements and governments were learning systems – and how those systems
could be enhanced. He suggests that the movement toward learning systems is, of
necessity, ‘a groping and inductive process for which there is no adequate
theoretical basis’ (ibid.: 57). The business firm, according to Donald Schon's
argument , was a striking example of a learning system. He charted how firms
moved from being organized around products toward integration around ‘business
systems’ (ibid.: 64). He made the case that many companies no longer have a
stable base in the technologies of particular products or the systems build
he went on with Chris Argyris to
develop a number of important concepts with regard to organizational learning.
Of particular importance for later developments was their interest in feedback
and single- and double-loop learning.
as Griffin and Brownhill (2001) have pointed out three other earlier conceptions
of the learning society also repay attention.
writer to be noted is Robert M. Hutchins writing on the learning society. Hutchins, in a book first published in
1968, argued that a ‘learning society’ had become necessary. Education
systems were no longer able to respond to the demands made upon them. Instead it
was necessary to look toward the idea that learning was at the heart of change.
‘The two essential facts are… the increasing proportion of free time and the
rapidity of change. The latter requires continuous education; the former makes
it possible (1970: 130). He looked to ancient Athens for a model. There:
was not a segregated activity, conducted for certain hours, in certain places,
at a certain time of life. It was the aim of the society. The city educated the
man. The Athenian was educated by culture, by paideia. (Hutchins 1970: 133)
made this possible – releasing citizens to participate in the life of the
city. Hutchins’ argument was that ‘machines can do for modern man what
slavery did for the fortunate few in Athens’ (op. cit.).
the writer of this present paper, in the perspective of the Islamic tradition we
can see the madinan prophetic model as representing every
clear example of this module of education not being a segregated activity
but rather integrated into the very rhythm of life, and then further making it
sacred as struggle in the path of Allah, and those who die in its path they die
as martyrs in the path of Allah. (See the Chapter on Book of Knowledge of Ihya
of al-Ghazali rd).
Husén, technology and the learning society. Torsten Husén argued that it would
be necessary for states to become 'learning societies' - where knowledge and
information lay at the heart of their activities.( ibid)
relation to this concept of the "learning society" there is also the
phenomenon of what is called 'knowledge
explosion'. It is stated that ;"Among all the 'explosions' that have come
into use as labels to describe rapidly changing Western society, the term
'knowledge explosion' is one of the most appropriate. Reference is often made to
the 'knowledge industry', meaning both the producers of knowledge, such as
research institutes, and its distributors, e.g. schools, mass media, book
publishers, libraries and so on. What we have been witnessing since the
mid-1960s in the field of distribution technology may well have begun to
revolutionize the communication of knowledge within another ten years of so.
(Husén 1974: 239)(ibid).
can observe that Husén's approach was futurological (where Hutchins was
essentially based on classical humanism). The organizing principles of Husén's
vision of a relevant educational system have been summarized by Stewart Ranson
(1998) and included:
as something becoming a lifelong process.
big issue is that education will not have any fixed points of entry and
'cut-off' exits. It will become a more continuous process within formal
education and in its role within other functions of human life.
will take on a more informal character as it becomes accessible to more
and more individuals. In addition to 'learning centers', facilities will be
provided for learning at home and at the workplace, for example by the provision
of computer terminals apart from the conventional media available in the
this new scenario formal education will become more meaningful and relevant in
its application in life and work.
is stated '[t]o an ever-increasing extent, the education system will become
dependent on large supporting organizations or supporting systems... to produce
teaching aids, systems of information processing and multi-media instructional
materials' (Husén 1974: 198-9)
vision was based 'upon projections from current trends in communications
technology and the likely consequences of these for knowledge, information and
production' (Griffin and Brownhill 2001: 58. Significantly, these predictions
have largely come true.(ibid)
Boshier, adult education and the learning society. Boshier argued for an
integrated model of education that allowed for participation throughout a
person's lifetime. Influenced by more radical and democratic writers like
Freire, Illich and Goodman, and his appreciation of economic and social change,
Boshier looked to the democratic possibilities of a learning society.
we turn to current explorations of the learning society it is possible to
discern the various strands developed by these writers: technological, cultural
and democratic. (The philosophical underpinning of these models is discussed by
Griffin and Brownhill 2001). However, it is the technological that appears to
have become dominant in many policy documents.
are a number of salient points which can be taken into consideration about the
current models of the learning society.Among these points are (ibid):
above features concerning a learning society are in harmony with the Islam ideal
and tradition, and they provide opportunities as well as challenges –whichever
way we look at them- to learners, educators, and polici makers.
the talk entitled : “Knowledge Work and Knowledge Society The Social
Transformations of this Century” Peter F. Drucker, with whose important name
this term 'knowledge society" is closely linked, on May 4, 1994(7)
made a number of important observations.
talking about the emergence of the “knowledge workers”, and hence from the
“the knowledge society”, Peter Drucker observes:
are unprecedented developments, profoundly affecting social structure,
community, government, economics and politics. What is even more astonishing and
even less precedented is the rise of the group which is fast replacing both
history’s traditional groups and the groups of industrial society; the group
which is fast becoming the center of gravity of the working population; the
group, incidentally, which is fast becoming the largest single group (though by
no means a majority) in the work force and population of post-industrial society
and in every developed country: knowledge workers.
the emergence of ‘knowledge society’ he says:
workers, even though only a large minority of the work force, already give the
emerging knowledge society its character, its leadership, its central challenges
and its social profile. They may not be the ruling class of the knowledge
society, but they already are its leading class. In their characteristics, their
social positions, their values and their expectations, they differ fundamentally
from any group in history that has ever occupied the leading, let along the
the first place, the knowledge worker gains access to
work, job and social position through formal education.
stressing the importance of formal education for access to work and social
position he states]“A great deal of knowledge work will require high manual
skill and substantial work with one’s hands. An extreme example is the
neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon’s performance capacity rests on formal
education and theoretical knowledge. Absence of manual skill disqualifies one
for work as a neurosurgeon. Manual skill alone, no matter how advanced, will
never enable anyone to be a neurosurgeon. The formal education that is required
for knowledge work is education that can only be acquired in and through formal
schooling. It cannot be acquired through apprenticeship.
continues speaking in the same vein about the strong points of such a society
with the necessary preparations in knowledge and the infrastructure: first
implication of this is that education will become the center of the knowledge
society and schooling its key institution. What knowledge mix is required for
everyone? What is quality in learning and teaching? All these will, of
necessity, become central concerns of the knowledge society and central
political issues. In fact, it may not be too fanciful to anticipate that the
acquisition and distribution of formal knowledge will come to occupy the place
in the politics of the knowledge society which acquisition and distribution of
property and income have occupied in the two or three centuries which we have
come to call the Age of Capitalism.
goes on giving his observations on this issue:
this may not necessarily mean that the school as we know it will become more
important. For, in the knowledge society, clearly more and more of knowledge,
and especially of advanced knowledge, will be acquired well past the age of
formal schooling, and increasingly, perhaps, in and through educational
processes which do not center on the traditional school, e.g. systematic
continuing education offered at the place of employment. But, at the same time,
there is very little doubt that the performance of the schools and the basic
values of the schools will increasingly become of concern to society as a whole,
rather than be considered professional matters that can be left to the educator.
then concerning the image and character of the educated person in the
“knowledge society” he observes:”We can also predict with high probability
that we will redefine what it means to be an educated person. Traditionally and
especially during the last two hundred years at least in the West (and since
about that time in Japan as well) an educated person was someone who shared a
common stock of formal knowledge what the Germans called Allgemeine Bildung and
the English ( and following them, the nineteenth- century Americans) called the
liberal arts. Increasingly, an educated person, will be someone who has learned
how to learn, and throughout his or her lifetime continues to learn, especially
in and out of formal education.
concerning the dangers in the concept of the educated person as previously
understood he observes: “There are obvious dangers to this. Society can easily
degenerate into one in which the emphasis is on formal degrees rather than on
performance capacity. It can easily degenerate into one of totally sterile,
Confucian-type Mandarins a danger to which the American university,
particularly, is singularly susceptible. It can, on the other hand, also fall
prey to overvaluing immediately usable, practical knowledge, and underrate the
importance of fundamentals and of wisdom altogether.
considering the possible danger of new class conflict in the new scenario he
states: “This society, in which knowledge workers dominate, is in danger of a
new class conflict: the conflict between the large minority of knowledge workers
and the majority of people who will make their living through traditional ways,
either by manual work, whether skilled or unskilled, or by services work,
whether skilled or unskilled. The productivity of knowledge work still abysmally
low will predictably become the economic challenge of the knowledge society. On
it will depend the competitive position of every country, industry and
institution within society. The productivity of the non- knowledge services
worker will increasingly become the social challenge to the knowledge society.
On it will depend the ability of the knowledge society to give decent incomes
and with them dignity and status to non-knowledge people.
observes that in the past no
earlier society faced such
challenges as mentioned above.
the new opportunities in the new society open to all , he states:”Equally new
are the opportunities of the knowledge society. In the knowledge society, for
the first time in history, access to leadership is open to all.
access to the acquisition of knowledge will no longer be dependent on obtaining
a prescribed education at any given age. Learning will become the tool of the
individual available to him or her at any age if only because so much of skill
and knowledge can be acquired by means of the new learning technologies.
implication is that the performance of an individual, an organization, an
industry or a country in acquiring and applying knowledge will increasingly
become the key competitive factor for career and earnings opportunities of
individuals; for the performance, if not the survival of the individual
organization; or of an industry, and for a country. The knowledge society will
inevitably become far more competitive than any society we have yet known for
the simple reason that with knowledge being universally accessible there are no
excuses for nonperformance. There will be no poor countries. There will only be
continues giving his observations on the new developed society with the
challenges and opportunities as follows:
same will be true for individual companies, individual industries, and
individual organizations of any kind. It will be true for the individual, too.
In fact, developed societies have already become infinitely more competitive for
the individual than were the societies of the early twentieth century let alone
earlier societies, those of the nineteenth or eighteenth centuries. Then most
people had no opportunity to rise out of the class into which they were born,
with most individuals following their fathers in their work and in their station
would like too use the term ‘knowledges’ for the new phenomenon in this new
development in human culture. He says:“I have been speaking of knowledge. But
the proper term is knowledges. For the knowledge of the knowledge society is
fundamentally different from what was considered knowledge in earlier societies,
and, in fact, from what is still widely considered knowledge. The knowledge of
the German Allgemeine Bildung or of the Anglo-American liberal arts had little
to do with one s life work. It focused on the person and the person s
development, rather than on any application both nineteenth-century Allgemeine
Bildung and liberal arts prided themselves on having no utility whatsoever. In
the knowledge society, knowledge basically exists only in application.
arguing for the new form of knowledge in terms of application, he
observes:”Knowledge in application is, by definition, highly specialized which
was why Plato s Socrates some 2500 years ago, refused to accept it as knowledge
and considered it mere techne, that is, mere skill.
concerning some knowledge requiring a limited amount of knowledge compared to
others, he observes:
knowledge work requires a fairly limited amount of knowledge examples are some
paramedical technologists, the X-ray technologist, the technologist in the
clinical laboratory, or the pulmonary technologist. Other knowledge work
requires far more advanced theoretical knowledge, e.g., most of the knowledge
work required in business, whether in market research; in product planning; in
designing manufacturing systems; in advertising and promotion; in purchasing. In
some areas the knowledge base is vast indeed, as in neurosurgery and in a good
many areas of management, e.g., managing a major hospital, a big and complex
university, or a multinational enterprise.
the base, knowledge in application is specialized. It is always specific, and
therefore not applicable to anything else. Nothing the X-ray technician needs to
know can be applied to market research, for instance, or to teaching medieval
the central work-force in the
knowledge society, he observes:
central work force in the knowledge society will, therefore, consist of highly
specialized people. In fact, it is a mistake to speak of generalists. What we
mean by that term, increasingly, will be people who have learned how to acquire
additional specialties, and especially to acquire rapidly the specialized
knowledge needed for them to move from one kind of work and job to another,
e.g., from being a market researcher into general management, or from being a
nurse in a hospital into hospital administration. But generalists in the sense
in which we used to talk of them are becoming dilettantes rather than educated
too is new. Historically, workers were generalists. They did whatever had to be
done on the farm, in the household and in the craftsman s shop. This was true of
the industrial worker as well. Manufacturing industry only expanded and became
dominant when it learned to take the specialized skill out of the work. This was
when it converted the skilled craftsmen of preindustrial times into the
semiskilled or unskilled machine operator of the nineteenth and twentieth
knowledge workers as specialists, he states:
knowledge workers, whether their knowledge be primitive or advanced, whether
there be a little of it or a great deal, will, by definition, be specialized.
Knowledge in application is effective only when it is specialized. Indeed, it is
more effective the more highly specialized it is. This goes for the technicians,
e.g., the person who services a computer, an X-ray machine or the engine of a
fighter plan.1 But it equally applies to work that requires the most advanced
knowledge, whether research into genetics or astrophysics or putting on the
first performance of a new opera.
said before: the shift from knowledge to knowledges offers tremendous
opportunities to the individual. It makes possible a career as a knowledge
worker. But it equally presents a great many new problems and challenges. It
demands for the first time in history that people with knowledge take
responsibility for making themselves understood by people who do not have the
same knowledge base. It requires that people learn and preferably early how to
assimilate into their own work specialized knowledges from other areas and other
is particularly important as innovation in any one knowledge area tends to
originate outside the area itself. This is true in respect to products and
processes where, in sharp contrast to the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries, innovations now tend to arise outside the industry or process itself.
It is true just as much in scientific knowledge and in scholarship. The new
approaches to the study of history have, for instance, come out of economics,
psychology and archeology all disciplines that historians never considered
relevant to their field and to which they had rarely before been exposed.
this he observes:”That the knowledge in the knowledge society has to be highly
specialized to be productive implies two new requirements: 1. knowledge workers
work in teams; and 2. knowledge workers have to have access to an organization
which, in most cases, means that knowledge workers have to be employees of an
is a great deal of talk these days about teams and team work. Most of it starts
out with the wrong assumption, namely, that we never before worked in teams.
Actually, people have always worked in teams very few people ever could work
effectively by themselves. The farmer had to have a wife, and the farm wife had
to have a husband. The two worked as a team. Both worked as a team with their
employees, the hired hands. The craftsman also had to have a wife, with whom he
worked as a team he took care of the craft work, she took care of the customers
and the business altogether. Both worked as a team with the journeymen and
apprentices. The present discussion also assumes that there is only one kind of
team. Actually there are quite a few.2 But until now the emphasis has been on
the individual worker and not on the team. With knowledge work being the more
effective the more specialized it is, teams become the actual work unit rather
than the individual himself.
the importance of team-work in the new society and the importance of new kinds
of teams for various kinds of work he states:“The team that is being touted
now as the team I call it the jazz combo team is only one kind of team. It is
actually the most difficult kind of team, and the team that requires the longest
time to gain performance capacity.
will have to learn to use different kinds of teams for different purposes. We
will have to learn to understand teams and this is something to which, so far,
very little attention has been paid. The understanding of teams, the performance
capacities of different kinds of teams; their strengths; their limitations; the
trade-offs between various kinds of teams, thus, increasingly, will become
central concerns in the performance of people.
in this new scenario the individual knowledge worker has got to learn the
capability to be able to switch over to new kinds of teams :“The individual
knowledge worker will also have to learn something that today practically no one
has learned: how to switch from one kind of team to another; how to integrate
one s self into a team; what to expect of a team; and, in turn, what to
contribute to a team.
ability to diagnose what kind of team a certain kind of knowledge work requires
for full effectiveness, and the ability, then, to organize such a team and
integrate oneself into it, will increasingly become a requirement for
effectiveness as a knowledge worker. So far, it is not taught or learned
anywhere (except in a few research labs). So far, very few executives in any
kind of organization even realize that it is their job, to a large extent, to
decide what kind of team is needed for a given job, how to organize it and how
to make it effective. We are now in the very early stages of work on teams,
their characteristics, their specifications, their performance characteristics
and their appraisal.
important is the second implication of the fact that knowledge workers are, of
necessity, specialists: the need for them to work as members of an organization.
It is only the organization that can provide the basic continuity which
knowledge workers need to be effective. It is only the organization that can
convert the specialized knowledge of the knowledge worker into performance.
itself, specialized knowledge yields no performance. The surgeon is not
effective unless there is a diagnosis, which, by and large, is not the surgeon s
task and not even within the surgeon s competence. Market researchers, by
themselves, produce only data. To convert the data into information, let alone
to make them effective in knowledge action, requires marketing people, sales
people, production people and service people. As a loner in research and
writing, the historian can be very effective. However, to produce the education
of students, a great many other specialists have to contribute people whose
specialty may be literature, mathematics or other areas of history. This
requires the specialist to have access to an organization.
access may be as a consultant. It may be as a provider of specialized services.
For the overwhelming majority of knowledge workers it will be as employees of an
organization full-time or part-time whether it be a government agency, a
hospital, a university, a business, a labor union or hundreds of other types of
organizations. In the knowledge society, it is not the individual who performs.
The individual is a cost center rather than a performance center. It is the
organization that performs. The individual physician may have a great deal of
knowledge. But the physician is impotent without the knowledge provided by a
host of other scientific disciplines, i.e., physics, chemistry, genetics, etc.
The physician cannot function without the test results produced by a host of
diagnosticians that run the imaging machines whether X-ray or ultrasound, making
and interpreting blood tests, administering brain scans, etc. The hospital is
the lifeline to the physician. It administers the services to critically ill
patients, and provides the physical and/or psychiatric rehabilitation without
which there would be no full recovery. To provide any of these services, whether
the electrocardiogram, the analysis of the blood samples, the magnetic resonance
imaging or the exercises of the physical therapist, physicians need access to
the organization of the hospital, that is, to a highly structured enterprise,
organized to operate in perpetuity.
concerning what he calls the ‘employee society’ he observes:
knowledge society is an employee society. Traditional society, or, society
before the rise of the manufacturing enterprise and the blue-collar
manufacturing worker, was not a society of independents. Thomas Jefferson s
society of independent, small farmers each being the owner of his own family
farm and farming it without any help except that of his wife and his children,
was never much more than a fantasy. Most people in history were dependents. But
they did not work for an organization. They were working for an owner, as
slaves, as serfs, as hired hands on the farm; as journeymen and apprentices in
the craftsmen s shops; as shop assistants and salespeople for a merchant; as
domestic servants, free or unfree, and so on. They worked for a master. When
blue-collar work in manufacturing first arose they still worked for a master.
Dickens s great 1854 novel of a bitter labor conflict in a cotton mill (Hard
Times), the workers worked for an owner. They did not work for the factory. Only
late in the nineteenth century did the factory rather than the owner become the
employer. And only in the twentieth century did the corporation, rather than the
factory, then become the employer. Only in this century has the master been
replaced by a boss, who, himself, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, is an
employee and has a boss himself.
workers will be both employees who have a boss, and bosses who have employees.
Organizations were not known to yesterday s social science, and are, by and
large, not yet known to today s social science. The great German sociologist,
Ferdinand Toennies (1855-1936), in his 1888 book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft
(Community and Society) classified the known forms of human organization as
being either community, which is organic, and fate, or society, which is a
structure and very largely under social control. He never talked of
organization. Nor did any of the other sociologists of the nineteenth or early
twentieth century. But organization is neither community nor society, although
it partakes of some characteristics of each. It is not fate. Membership in an
organization is always freely chosen. One joins a company or a government agency
or the teaching staff of a university. One is not born into it. And one can
always leave one could only emigrate from traditional communities. It is not
society, either, especially as it does not embrace the totality of its members.
The director of market research in a company is also a member of half a dozen
other organizations. She may belong to a church, to a tennis club, and may well
spend especially if an American five hours a week as a volunteer for a local
nonprofit organization, e.g., as a leader of a Girl Scout troop. Organizations,
in other words, are not true collectives. They are tools, i.e., means to an end.
have been earlier organizations. The professional military as it arose after the
seventeenth century was an organization; it was neither a society nor a
community. The modern university, as it emerged after the foundation of the
University of Berlin in 1809, was an organization.
members freely joined and could always leave. The same can be said for the Civil
Service as it arose in the eighteenth century, first in France, then on the
European continent, and finally in late nineteenth century in Great Britain and
Meiji, Japan (though not until 1933 or World War II in the United States). But
these earlier organizations were still seen as exceptions. The first
organization in the modern sense, the first that was seen as being prototypical
rather than exceptional, was surely the modern business enterprise as it emerged
after 1870 which is the reason why, to this day, most people think of
management, that is of the organi-zation s specific organ, as being business
the appearance of the knowledge society and the society becoming a society of
organizations he observes:“With the emergence of the knowledge society,
society has become a society of organizations. Most of us work in and for an
organization, and we are dependent for our effectiveness and equally for our
living on access to an organization whether as an organization s employee or as
a provider of services to an organization, as a lawyer, for instance, or a
freight forwarder. More and more of these supporting services to organizations
are, themselves, organized as organizations. The first law firm was organized in
the U.S. a little over a century ago until then lawyers practiced as
individuals. In Europe there were no law firms to speak of until after World War
II. Today, the practice of law is increasingly done in larger and larger
partnerships. It is also true, especially in the U.S., of the practice of
medicine. The knowledge society is a society of organizations in which
practically every single task is being performed in and through an organization.
the question what is an employee, he remarks
knowledge workers will spend most if not all of their working life as employees.
The meaning of the term is different from what it has been, traditionally and
not only in English but in German, Spanish, or Japanese as well.
knowledge workers are dependent on the job. They receive a wage or salary. They
are being hired and can be fired. Legally, each is an employee, but,
collectively, they are the only capitalists. Increasingly, through their pension
funds and through their other savings (e.g., in the U.S. through mutual funds),
the employees own the means of production. In traditional economics and by no
means only in Marxist economics there is a sharp distinction between the wage
fund all of which goes into consumption and the capital fund. Most social theory
of industrial society is based, one way or another, on the relationship between
the two, whether in conflict or in necessary and beneficial cooperation and
balance. In the knowledge society, the two merge. The pension fund is deferred
wage and, as such, a wage fund. It is also increasingly the main source of
capital, if not the only source of capital, for the knowledge society.
important, perhaps more important: in the knowledge society the employees, that
is knowledge workers, again own the tools of production. Marx s great insight
was the realization that the factory worker does not and cannot own the tools of
production and therefore has to be alienated. There was no way, Marx pointed
out, for the worker to own the steam engine and to be able to take the steam
engine with himself when moving from one job to another. The capitalist had to
own the steam engine and had to control it. Increasingly, the true investment in
the knowledge society is not in machines and tools. It is in the knowledge of
the knowledge worker. Without it, the machines, no matter how advanced and
sophisticated, are unproductive.
market researcher needs a computer. But increasingly this is the researcher s
own personal computer, and a cheap tool the market researcher takes along
wherever he or she goes. And the true capital equipment of market research is
the knowledge of markets, of statistics, and of the application of market
research to business strategy, which is lodged between the researchers ears and
is their exclusive and inalienable property. The surgeon needs the operating
room of the hospital and all of its expensive capital equipment. But the surgeon
s true capital investment is the twelve or fifteen years of training and the
resulting knowledge which the surgeon takes from one hospital to the next.
Without that knowledge, the hospital s expensive operating rooms are so much
waste and scrap.
is true whether the knowledge worker commands advanced knowledge like the
surgeon, or simple and fairly elementary knowledge like the junior accountant.
In either case, it is the knowledge investment that determines whether the
employee is productive or not, rather than the tools, machines and capital the
organization furnishes. The industrial worker needed the capitalist infinitely
more than the capitalist needed the industrial worker the basis for Marx s
assertion that there would always be a surplus of industrial workers, and an
industrial reserve army which would make sure that wages could not possibly rise
above the subsistence level (probably Marx s most egregious error). In the
knowledge society the most probable assumption and certainly the assumption on
which all organizations have to conduct their affairs is that they need the
knowledge worker far more than the knowledge worker needs them. It is the
organization s job to market its knowledge jobs so as to obtain knowledge
workers in adequate quantity and superior quality. The relationship increasingly
is one of interdependence, with the knowledge worker having to learn what the
organization needs, but with the organization also having to learn what the
knowledge workers needs, requires and expects.
its work is based on knowledge, the knowledge organization is altogether not one
of superiors and subordinates.
the symphony orchestra as the prototype for the new situation, he remarks:“The
prototype is the symphony orchestra. The first violin may be the most important
in the orchestra. But the first violinist is not the superior of the harp
player. He is a colleague. The harp part is the harp player s part and not
delegated to her by either the conductor or the first violinist.
was endless debate in the Middle Ages about the hierarchy of knowledges, with
philosophy claiming to be the queen of knowledges. We long ago gave up that moot
argument. There is no higher knowledge and no lower knowledge. When the patient
s complaint is an ingrown toenail the podiatrist s knowledge controls, and not
that of the brain surgeon even though the brain surgeon represents many more
years of training and gets a much larger fee. Conversely, if an executive is
posted to a foreign country, the knowledge he or she needs, and in a hurry, is
the fairly low skill of acquiring fluency in a foreign language something every
native of that country has mastered by age two without any great investment. The
knowledge of the knowledge society, precisely because it is knowledge only when
applied in action, derives its rank and standing from the situation and not from
its knowledge content. What is knowledge, in other words, in one situation,
e.g., the knowledge of Korean for the American executive posted to Seoul, is
only information, and not very relevant information at that, when the same
executive a few years later has to think through his company s market strategy
for Korea. This, too, is new. Knowledges were always seen as fixed stars, so to
speak, each occupying its own position in the universe of knowledge. In the
knowledge society, knowledges are tools and, as such, dependent for their
importance and position on the task to be performed.
final conclusion: Because the knowledge society perforce has to be a society of
organizations, its central and distinctive organ is management.
we first began to talk of management, the term meant business management for
large-scale business was the first of the new organizations to become visible.
But we have learned in this last half-century that management is the distinctive
organ of all organizations. All of them require management whether they use the
term or not. All managers do the same things whatever the business of their
organization. All of them have to bring people each of them possessing a
different knowledge together for joint performance. All of them have to make
human strengths productive in performance and human weaknesses irrelevant.
of them have to think through what are results in the organization and all of
them have to define objectives. All of them are responsible to think through
what I call the theory of the business, that is, the assumptions on which the
organization bases its performance and actions, and equally, the assumptions on
which organizations decide what things not to do.
of them require an organ that thinks through strategies, that is, the means
through which the goals of the organization become performance. All of them have
to define the values of the organization, its system of rewards and punishments,
and its spirit and its culture. In all of them, managers need both the knowledge
of management as work and discipline, and the knowledge and understanding of the
organization itself, its purposes, its values, its environment and markets, its
as a practice is very old. The most successful executive in all history was
surely that Egyptian who, 4,000 years or more ago, first conceived the pyramid
without any precedent designed and built it, and did so in record time. Unlike
any other work of man, that first pyramid still stands. But as a discipline,
management is barely fifty years old. It was first dimly perceived around the
time of World War I. It did not emerge until World War II, and then primarily in
the United States. Since then, it has been the fastest growing new function, and
its study the fastest growing new discipline. No function in history has emerged
as fast as management and managers have done so in the last fifty to sixty
years, and surely none has had such worldwide sweep in such a short period.
Management, in most business schools, is still taught as a bundle of techniques,
e.g., budgeting or organization development. To be sure, management, like any
other work, has its own tools, and its own techniques. But just as the essence
of medicine is not the urine analysis, the essence of management is not
technique or procedure. The essence of management is to make knowledges
productive. Management, in other words, is a social function. And, in its
practice, management is truly a liberal art.
going further, we can mention a
number of points about the understanding of this knowledge society. Among these
the discovery and the intensive use of the new technology, the information and
communication technology (ICT)
the necessity for greater interaction with other nations, cultures and regions
of the world
the necessity for an attitude of openness, interaction, assimilation,
absorption, revision, criticism and examination which will prompt creative
knowledge production in
the attitude of society characterized by being descriptive and
perspective, with readiness for positive change and
involving analysis of the
current state of education, scientific research, the media, the publishing
industry, culture encompassing religion, intellectual heritage and the use of
the national language, and other
building blocks of a "knowledge society"
people should be educated to be concerned about construction of a viable
"knowledge society" which in turn requires effective economic, social
and political institutions, involving solutions for negative attitudes and
situations related to ideologies, societal structures and values that inhabit
critical thinking, which cut off Muslims and others from their knowledge rich
heritage and block the free flow of ideas and learning
People should be trained and educated so that they will be involved actively in
the production and dissemination of knowledge and the various forms of creative
activity that are the foundations for the knowledge society in the country..
the discussion about knowledge will involve
“engineering the ‘knowledge society’,
which may involve the issue of
Information technology supporting human development , since,
Information Technology (or Information and Communication Technology)
cannot be seen as a separate phenomenon in human culture; it should be seen as a
tool for helping human development and has
be taken into account when engineering the Knowledge Society.
This will involve issues of
life-long learning, e-inclusion,
ethics and social impact, engineering profession, developing
economy and e-Society.
the question :What actions have to be undertaken to realize a human centered
Knowledge Society? Is of utmost importance for the realization of the objective.
relation to quality of life, we can begin to see this issue in relation to
concept of knowledge which is of collective obligation (fard kifayah). Imam
al-Ghazali observes in the
‘Ihya’ as follows:((8)
DUTY ON COMMUNITY)
0 dear readers, that learning about the duties are divided into two categories -
those which are connected with religion and those which are not so connected.
The religions learning are those which came from the Holy Prophets and in which
there is no question of intellect, and the learnings that are not connected with
the religion are Mathematics, Medicine etc. They are of three kinds -
praiseworthy, blameworthy and permissible. The sciences which are necessary for
progress in the world are praiseworthy, such as Medicine, Mathematics etc. These
are Farz Kifayah or binding on the community as a whole. Fard Kifayah is such
compulsory duty without which no nation can go on in this world. If a man at
least acquires such learning or science in a town or locality, all other people
in the town or locality get absolved from its sin. If, however nobody learns it,
all will be transgressors. The sciences which should be learnt for agriculture,
administration, industry, horticulture, weaving etc. are Fard Kifayah. To be
expert in such learnings is not Fard Kifayah. The learnings which are
blameworthy are sorcery, talismanic science juggling, gambling and the like. The
branches of knowledge which are permissible are poetry, history, geography,
learning connected with the religion is praiseworthy, but when any other
learning is mixed with any of them, it becomes
sometimes blameworthy. The praiseworthy branches of learning comprise sources
and branches helpful and supplementary to those disciplines of learning. They
are therefore of four kinds.
Sources of religious learning are four in number (a) the Book of God, the Sunnah
or usages of the Holy Prophet, the unanimous opinions of Muslim jurists (Ijma)
and the sayings of companions. Ijma is the third source of Islam as it shows the
path towards the usages of the Prophet. The first source is the Quran and the
second is the Sunnah. The fourth source is the sayings of the companions because
they saw the Prophet, witnessed the coming down to revelations and they saw what
others did not see through their association with the Prophet.
Branches of learning of religion are drawn from the sources not according to the
literal meaning but according to the meaning adduced by the mind, thereby
writing the understanding as indicated by the following Hadith: A judge shall
not sit in judgment when angry. This means that he shall not pass judgment when
he is pressed by calls of nature, hunger and disease. The last thing is of two
kinds. One kind relates to the activities of the world, such as the books of law
and is entrusted to the lawyers and jurisprudent; and the other kind relates to
the activities of the hereafter. The latter is the science of the conditions of
the heart and of its praiseworthy virtues and blameworthy evils.
The third is the sciences helpful to the praiseworthy sciences such as the
science of language and grammar which are necessary to know the Quran and
Sunnah. They are not themselves religious education. They were not necessary for
the Holy Prophet as he was illiterate.
The fourth kind is the supplementary sciences and is connected with
pronunciation of words and different readings and meanings, such as tafsir,
knowledge of revocation of verses, books on authoritative transmission,
biographies of illustrious companions and narrators of traditions.
are the religious learning and are praiseworthy and as such Fard Kifayah or
binding on the community as a whole.(9)
discussing the importance of knowledge in relation to human life, al-Ghazali
states in the Ihya’ as follows:
affairs of this world do not become orderly except through activities, but the
human activities are divided into three categories. 1) The first category
includes four fundamental activities without which the world can not go on in
order. (i) Agriculture for raising food stuffs for maintaining lives, weaving
for manufacturing clothes, architecture for building houses and government for
regulating human relations for living in peace and harmony. 2) The second
category includes such activities as are helpful to the above mentioned
activities, such as iron crafts or ploughs for cultivation, instruments for
spinning and weaving clothes and other implements. 3) The third category
includes such activities as are supplementary to the principal industries
previously mentioned, such as eating, drinking, making dresses, sewing clothes.
inculcation of the various useful sciences will lead to the preservation of
which will be instrumental in the preservation of the fundamentals of human life
in the Islamic discourse on philosophy of law or jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).
discussing the five necessities in human life which are considered as the five
aims preserved by the sacred law are termed
as the al-kulliyat al-khamsah or also termed as the daruriyyat al-Shatibi
mentions religion, self, intellect,
progeny, wealth.In the al-Muwafaqat (I.38,II.10, IV.27)
the author mentions the necessities in the following order:
religion, life (nafs), progeny, wealth, and intellect.
In the al-I’tisam (II.179 and al-Muwafaqat II.299)
the mention is in the following order: religion, life, progeny, wealth,
and intellect.Al-Zarkashi mentions these in the following order: life, wealth,
progeny, religion, and intellect.Al-Ghazali in the al-Mustashfa, I.258 mentions
these in the order: religion, life, intellect, progeny, and
wealth.Al-Ghazali’s opinion seems
to be more acceptable. Whatever the order is, the issue of progeny and its
importance is accepted by scholars of Islamic jurisprudence.Abdullah Darraz in
his commentary of the al-Muwafaqat II.153 mentions that the view of al-Ghazali
is adopted by most scholars.hence,
in the matter of these daruriyyat the matter of religion is the first, then
life, then the intellect, then progeny, then wealth.
we can state that these are the necessities of life determined by Islamic
discourse in its philosophy of law.
relation to this, we can find reformulation of such needs in the duties of the
caliph in the Sunni theory of the caliphate.This is clear the Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah of al-Mawardi.(10)
duties include: the preservation of the religion according to the original
principles; carrying out justice
between parties involved in litigations in the state; the implementation of the
laws and regulations of the religion including
punishments for crimes; preserving
the security of life for women in families so that people can carry out their
business of looking for livelihood in peace; safeguarding the boundaries of the
country so that people are secured; collecting revenue for the state according
to the proper rules and regulations; putting proper people in charge of their
duties in the state so that proper functioning of the
administration is maintained; paying of salaries in the proper time
neither too late nor too early; carrying out the jihad in cases where situations
demand; and inspecting the administration so that all run smoothly.
these can be added the other duties of the state which are for the welfare of
concerning “human rights” which constitute the essential aspect of human
quality of life in Islam, there are several observations which can be made.
Among these are as follows:
can begin with several basic concepts of the Islamic worldview. Since God is the
absolute and the sole master of men and the universe, and since He has given
each man human dignity and honor, and breathed into him something of His own
spirit, it follows that men are essentially the same. In fact, the only
differences between them are such artificial ones as nationality, color, or
race. Thus, all human beings are equal and form one universal community that is
united in its submission and obedience to God.
we can observe that at the centre of this universal brotherhood is the Islamic
confession of the oneness of God and that, by extension, includes the oneness
and brotherhood of humanity and hence an Islamic state may be established
anywhere. While the state is geographically limited, the human rights and
privileges granted to humanity by God are not. The Qur'an states that these are
universal and fundamental, and that all individuals are to enjoy and observe
them under all circumstances-including war-regardless of whether he is living in
the geographical confines of an Islamic state or not:
Qur’an asserts clearly:
believers, be you securers of justice, witness for God. Let not detestation for
a people move you not to be equitable; be equitable-that is nearer to
then from the last sermon of the
Prophet in the Farewell pilgrimage in the year before his demise we can learn a
number of important matters; among these are:human blood is sacred in any case
and cannot be spilled without justification. Violating this rule is equivalent
to killing all of humanity.
text of the sermon is as follows:
praising, and thanking Allah (The One True God) the Prophet began with the
People! lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall
ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and
Take These Words to Those Who Could Not Be Present Here Today.
People! just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard
the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods
entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt
you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed
reckon your deeds.
has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations
shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither
inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no
interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib (Prophet's
uncle) be waived.
right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the
first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn
Men! the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calender in order to make
permissible that which Allah forbade, and to prohibit which Allah has made
permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy,
three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada
of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will
be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small
People! it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but
they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives
only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right
then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your
women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.
And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do
not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.
People! listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers,
fast during month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat (obligatory
charity). Perform Hajj if you can afford to.
mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a
non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over
black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good
action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the
Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim
which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah
and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness
after I am gone.
People! No Prophet or Apostle Will Come after Me and No New Faith Will Be Born.
Reason well, therefore, O People! and understand words which I convey to you. I
leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah (i.e., sayings, deeds,
and approvals) and if you follow these you will never go astray.
those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others
again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to
my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people."
part of this sermon, the Prophet recited them a Revelation from Allah which he
had just received and which completed the Qur’an, for it was the last passage
to be revealed:
day the disbelievers despair of prevailing against your religion, so fear them
not, but fear Me (Allah)! This day have I perfected for you your religion and
fulfilled My favor unto you, and it hath been My good pleasure to choose Islam
for you as your religion (Surah 5, Ayah 3).
sermon was repeated sentence by sentence by Safwan's brother Rabiah (RA), who
had a powerful voice, at the request of the Prophet and he faithfully proclaimed
to over ten thousand gathered on the occasion. Toward the end of his sermon, the
Prophet asked “O people, have I faithfully delivered unto you my
message?" A powerful murmur of assent “O Allah, yes!", arose from
thousands of pilgrims and the vibrant words “Allahumma na’m” rolled like
thunder throughout the valley. The Prophet raised his forefinger and said: “Be
my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people."(12)
again the Qur’an states to the effect:
slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the
land, should be as if he had slain mankind altogether.(13)
is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the
wounded. Women's honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances.
The hungry must be fed, the naked clothed, and the wounded or diseased given
medical treatment regardless of their pro- or anti-Muslim sentiments and
Islam, human rights are granted by God, not by kings or legislative assemblies,
and therefore they can never be taken away or changed, even temporarily, for any
reason. They are meant to be put into practice and lived, not to stay on paper
or in the realm of unenforceable philosophical concepts or United Nation
declarations. Every Muslim is required to accept them and recognize the people's
right to have them enforced and obeyed. The Qur'an states that: Those who do not
judge by what God has sent [while denying its validity] down are the
Rights in an Islamic State
the security of life and property, we have seen in the Prophet's address during
his final pilgrimage,that he had
proclaimed: "Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till
you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection." He also had stated :
"One who kills a man under covenant (i.e., a non Muslim citizen of a Muslim
land) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."
the protection of honour, the Qur'an does not allow one's personal honor to be
abused:; the Qur’an clearly states: “O You who believe, do not let one set
of people make fun of another set. Do not defame one another Do not insult by
using nicknames. Do not backbite or spear? ill of one another” (15)
concerning sanctity and security of human privacy, the Qur'an guarantees this
right.It says:” Avoid having suspicion, for some suspicion is
a sin.And do not spy on one another
and let not some of you backbite
others…” (16)(49.12)and “do not enter
houses which are not yours’ until
you have asked for the permission thereto and
given greetings of peace to the inmates. “(17)
for personal freedom, Islam guarantees this, and it prohibits the imprisonment
of any individual before his guilt has been proven before a public court. This
means that the accused has the right to defend himself and to expect fair and
impartial treatment from the court.
Qur’an also prohibits tyranny against people through the spread of their
misdeeds to others. This is mentioned clearly in the Qur'an: God does not love
evil talk in public unless it is by some one who has been injured thereby. In
Islam, as has been stated earlier, an individual's power and authority is a
trust from God. This is an awesome responsibility for a person, for he must use
this trust in a way that is acceptable to God or else suffer the consequences.
heavy responsibility involving power and authority has been
acknowledged by Abu Bakr, who said in his very first address when he was
made the first caliph of Islam:: "Cooperate with me when I am right, and
correct me when I commit error. Obey me so long as I follow the commandments of
Allah and His Prophet, but turn away from me when I deviate."
freedom of expression , we can observe that Islam allows complete freedom of
thought and expression, provided that it does not involve spreading that which
is harmful to individuals and the society at large. For example, the use of
abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism is not allowed. In the
days of the Prophet, the Muslims used to ask him about certain matters. If he
had received no revelation on that particular issue, they were free to express
their personal opinions.
formation of associations, parties, and organizations is allowed, on the
understanding that they abide by certain general rules.
of Conscience and Conviction:
Qur'an states: There should be no coercion in the matter of faith. Totalitarian
societies of all ages have tried to deprive individuals of their freedom by
subordinating them to state authority This condition is equivalent to slavery,
the only difference being that physical slavery has been replaced by mechanisms
of control that allow the individual no freedom of choice Islam forbids such a
of Religious Sentiments:
with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam guarantees to
the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and the
nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.
from Arbitrary Imprisonment:
states that each individual is responsible only for his own actions. Therefore,
he cannot be arrested and imprisoned for the offenses of someone else. We read
in the Qur'an: “No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of
Right to Basic Necessities of Life:
recognizes the right of the needy to demand help from those who are more
fortunate: And in their wealth there is acknowledge right for the needy and the
Before the Law:
gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of
Are Not Above the Law:
to the Islamic concept of justice, absolutely no one is above the law, for all
men are equal. This point was made in a very dramatic fashion by the Prophet
himself. One day, a woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in
connection with a theft. The case was brought to the Prophet with the
recommendation that she be spared the mandated punishment for theft (amputation
of the hand). The Prophet replied: "The nations that lived before you were
destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their offenses and let
their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes. I swear by Him Who holds my
life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed
this crime, I would have amputated her hand."
Right to Participate in the Affairs of State:
the Qur'an, we find the statement And their business is (conducted) through
consultation among themselves (18).This procedure is known as shura, which is
usually translated as "consultation." In practice, it means that the
executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be
elected by free and independent choice of the people. However, the leader is not
bound to follow the decision that results from this deliberation.
Islam seeks to achieve the above-mentioned human rights and many others through
the provision of certain legal safeguards, but primarily through calling upon
individuals to transcend their lower animal-like instincts so that they can go
beyond mere ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority,
linguistic arrogance, and economic privilege Islam urges man to move on to a
plane of existence where, by reason of his inner excellence, he can realize the
ideal of the brotherhood of man(19)
“ knowledge society” there are a number of observations which can be made.
Muslims should understand accurately
the nature, characteristics and objectives of “knowledge society”
in the current cultural discourse.
They should take stock of the situation and see where they stand and
understand what are their strengths and weaknesses.
Muslims should prepare themselves so that they can perform their task in
the new “knowledge society” making the best use of the tools available in
the new information and communication technology, with the internet, the
intra-net, the e-mail, and whatever is available.
They should master the secrets of the trade in the new technology so that
they are not duped. The Prophet s.a.w. has said that a person who knows the
language of another people he cannot be fooled by them. The knowledge of the
tongue of a people does not merely mean langiuage of communication in the ordin
ary se4nse, but the present writer would like to suggest even the most
up-to-date technical and scientific
language and philosophy,
so that we are not duped in any way.Imam al-Ghazali rd says in the
‘al-Munqid’ that a person who can evaluate one form of knowledge is one who
understands that knowledge, and goes beyond that knowledge so that, if he is
knowledgable enough, he is capable of giving a
critique of that knowledge or an aspect of it.
And the government has prepared infrastructure
for this venture and is encouraging and supporting development in this
Of course knowledge society for us is not merely society promoting
skills in commerce, economics, and administration, [including for war for
defending the nation and the ummah], but also for understanding about God, his
doctrines and rules in human life, as well as understanding and preserving our
identity as Muslims, Malays, Malaysians, in Asean, in the world community
, within the matrix of the ummah.
Knowledge for us comprises of Divine and Prophetic Wisdom for our
guidance, then the knowledge from human experience and the intellect, supported
by evidences from the human senses and wisdom from collective history.
quality of life, we can observe a number of points, among others, as the
Life quality must relate to the human body, spirit, and intellect. Hence
in Islam the basic necessities of life preserved by Islam are; life, religion,
intellect, wealth, progeny, wealth, and honour.
Hence shelter, food and drink, clothing, family life, communal
and societal life.
The state have certain functions relating to: life, intellect, religion,
wealth, progeny, wealth and honour, relating to facilities in health, education,
law, economic planning, the implementation of law, guaranteeing rights, and
cultural milieu, including the media. All these are reflected in the
administration of the state with the various ministries and departments, and
government related organizations and bodies.
In the present cultural setting this is aided by the non-governmental
The integrity of the nation should be monitored
by the National Integrity Board.
Life quality includes within
its purview, apart from matters relating to education and cultural matters, the
provision of good roads, power supply, water supply, and now supply of broadband
access to the electronic superhighway for informations, data, systematic
knowledge, communication, and we can say, within
the balanced perspective, even wisdom.
Of course, we cannot forget the question of national security and
Finally the quality of life in Islam is determined by the three
categories of needs of man: the absolute necessities (al-daruriyyat), the
important needs (al-hajjiyyat), and the ones which make life pleasant
(al-tahsinat) which has been well explained by Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi.(20)Wallahu
al-Sultaniyyah,chapter on the contract of the imamah and other categories of
duties concerning the administeration of the State.Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah, of
al-Mawardi, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Libnan, 1985, p.18.See also in
)( http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/sermon.html )
49: 1 1-121.)
In his Fiqh al-Awwaliyyat.
the neglect of the fiqh of priorities, Dr Yusuf writes:
Neglect of the fiqh of Priorities Among many Muslims
problem with many groups of the Islamic Awakening advocates is that the fiqh of
priorities is nonexistent to them, as they often seek the secondary before
paying attention to the principal, try to examine the particulars before
grasping the generalities, and hold to the controversial before familiarizing
themselves with the established. It is a pity that we ask for instance about the
blood of a gnat, and do not care about the shedding of Al-Hussein's blood, or
fight for nafila, while the. people have wasted the faridas, or quarrel over a
form, regardless of the content.
is the situation today for Muslims in general. I see millions making the umra
[minor pilgrimage] every year in Ramadan and other months and others making hajj
for the tenth or even the twentieth time: if they saved the money they spent on
these nafilas, they would accumulate thousands of millions of dollars. We have
been running around for years trying to collect one thousand million dollars for
the Islamic Philanthropic Institution, but have not collected a tenth, or even
one- twentieth or one-thirtieth, of that amount. If you ask those performers of
supererogatory umra and hajj to give you what they would spend on their
voluntary journeys so that you may direct it to resisting Christianization or
communism in Asia and Africa, or to combating famine here or there, they will
not give you anything. This is a long-time ailment that no heart doctor has ever
been able to cure.
fiqh of priorities requires that we know which issue is more worthy of
attention, so that we may give it more effort and time than we give others. The
fiqh of priorities also requires us to know which enemy is more deserving of
directing our forces and concentrating our attack against him, and which battle
is more worthy of waging, for people are divided into several kinds in Islam's
eye, as follows:
are the Muslims, the unbelievers and the hypocrites.
have in their ranks the pacifists and the militant. They also include those who
only did not believe, and those who did not believe and also blocked the path to
Allah [before those who believed].
include those of the lesser hypocrisy and those of the greater hypocrisy.
whom do we start, then? Which area is more worthy of work? Which issue is more
deserving of attention?
fiqh of priorities requires that we know the time-limited duty so that we may
treat it properly and not delay it and thus waste a chance that may not present
itself again until after a long time, if it ever does.
poet admonishes us about the value of time by saying: "Avail the chance,
for a chance, If unavailable, becomes a grief. Our Arabic adage also says:
"Do not put off today's work till tomorrow".
Omar Ibn Abdel-Aziz was once advised to postpone some chore to the next day, he
replied, "I am already tasked by a day's work, how will I feel if I have
two days work to do tomorrow? "
wise saying by Ibn-Ata is "There are certain duties with plenty of time
given for their fulfillment, so they could be cautioned within the time-limit,
but there are, besides, time-limited duties that, if out of time, are
irredeemable, for with every new time there is a new duty and a new task
demanded by Allah"!
Al-Ghazali and the fiqh of Priorities
his book "Al Ihiya"', Imam Al-Ghazali criticized those who were
content with worship and did not pay attention to the | ranks of deeds. He said:
"Another group is keen on nafilas but not as keen on faridas. We see some
of them very pleased with the duha [forenoon optional] prayer and tahajjud
"nighttime optional prayer] and other nafilas, but they find no pleasure in
the farida's, nor are they as keen on performing the farida prayers early in
their time. They forget what the Prophet narrated from the Qudsi hadith
[inspired by Allah the Almighty to His Messenger]: "Nothing that my slaves
shall do to bring themselves closer to me shall be better than doing what I have
ordered them to perform [as faridas]" (Al-Bukhari). Neglecting the order of
prominence in good deeds falls under evil conduct. An individual may even find
himself obliged to do only one of two compulsory things, or forced to do two
things with a very limited time for one and ample time for the other: if he does
not preserve their order, then he is deceived. "The similar instances are
countless, for obedience and disobedience [of the commands of Allah] are both
obvious. What is really ambiguous is giving precedence to some forms of
obedience over others, such as giving prominence to faridas over nafilas; to
individual duties over collective duties to a collective duty with no one to
fulfill it over that fulfilled by other people; to the more important individual
duties over those which have a lesser importance, to what cannot be postponed
over what can be postponed; and to the needs of one's mother over those of one's
father. The Prophet was asked, "Who is more entitled to be treated with the
best companionship by me?" He replied, "Your mother". And the man
said, "Who is next?", and the Prophet said, "Your mother".
And the man asked again, "And who is next"? and the Prophet said,
"Your mother". And the man asked for the fourth time, "And who is
next?" and the Prophet said, "Your father". And the man further
asked, "And who is next?" and the Prophet replied, "The closest
and then the closer of your relatives."). A person should devote his
companionship by the closeness of relationship. If two of his kins are of the
same degree of relation, then he should help the one who needs help more, and if
they need help equally then he should help the more pious of them.
if someone cannot meet the Costs of spending on his parents and making a
pilgrimage at the same time, he should not make the pilgrimage because if he
does, he would be acting in ignorance, for he should give the rights of his
parents precedence over pilgrimage. In this case, he will be giving prominence
to a religious duty over another religious duty that is of a lower rank.
if someone has an appointment and the time for jumua [Friday congregational
prayer] comes upon him, then he has to go to the prayer. If he goes to his
appointment, he will be committing an act of disobedience [to Allah], even
though the fulfillment of the appointment is, as such, an act of obedience.
may also find some najasa [impurities] on his garment and speak roughly to his
parents on that account. While najasa is unacceptable, hurting the parents is
also unacceptable, and caring to avoid hurting the parents is more important
than caring to avoid najasa.
examples of the combination of tabooed deeds and of compulsory duties are
countless. He who neglects the order of Priorities in any of them is certainly
a paper, now with additions and modifications, to be tabled in the conference
organized by UPM on 30th September, 2004, which was previously presented in the Seminar organized by Sultan
Iskandar Institute of Johor on the 19th of May 2004, Kuala Lumpur (11th
Leadership Seminar of the Southeast Asian Centre of Enviromental and Urban
Management (SEACEUM), Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur.)
writer is currently Very
Distinguished Academic Fellow, ISTAC, IIUM.
Dikemaskini pada : 10-Jan-05 09:07 AM